24 hour SS worlds race report- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    24 hour SS worlds race report

    Yeah, this is a triple post. I mean c'mon, it's single speed, it's endurance, and it definitely is passion. I normally pick two forums, but this one was too hard to hold back on. What am I gonna do when I go 29'er next year? Quadruple posts may get me banned for a year.

    When I got to the riders meeting on Friday I had my first look at my competition (well a list anyways). I didn't recognize two of the names, but I knew Sully (Sean Sullivan) would be tough to beat. I went to bed that night thinking he was all I had to worry about. The next day while preparing my pit I turn around, and I was looking at none other than 2005 SS solo champ Dejay Birtch. Awww crap, what is he doing here??? Isn't he supposed to be in Moab next week? He was only there to support his buddy Jake, but he introduced me to Cameron Chambers who would be racing for the SS title (they accidentally listed him as elite). Yes THE CAMERON CHAMBERS, 2005 national champ. Last year he beat Tinker, Eatough, Nat Ross, and everybody else. The dude is only 24 years old and has probably done more 24 hour events than I have ever done at my ripe old age of 37. Yeah, I'm racing for second now.

    I saw Sully's 29'er was equipped with a suspension seatpost (I used one in Conyers back in 2000), and Cam had a steel Fisher 29'er with a suspension fork (gasp). I felt like I brought a knife to a gun fight. From the very start we were going at it. The pace was super fast (I kinda expected that), and it stayed that way for the first two laps. I think I finally caught up to Sully on lap four. We were going into the second half of the course to be known as the GAP section (Granite Ass Pounder) for the purposes of my story. I asked how he was doing and he said he was "done". I didn't know what he meant by that, but everything means nothing and nothing is everything in a 24 hour race. I just kept going at it trying to remind myself I needed to last ummmm..like twenty more hours.

    I was pretty amazed at how my legs were holding out. Although my hands were already killing me, I felt like my legs were endless. I was kicking it up the climbs, and I didn't feel like it was hurting me. Hmmm... maybe I can get this guy. I started getting a slow flat out on the GAP section so I pulled over so I could hit it with some CO2. My stupid rear number plate made it nearly impossible to get my airchuck outta my saddlebag, but eventually I broke it out from it's 24HOA marketing prison. (Partially my fault. I didn't put my number plate where I wanted for fear of being penalized for modifying it. Later I noticed other riders had, and nobody was shooting them) I hit it with all 25 grams and busted ass back to the pits. My pit crew quickly set to swapping to a much narrower tire that I had brought. Goodbye low pressure and comfort. Say hello to high pressure and pain. The tire was a half pound lighter, and I did notice it when I hit the first climb. I also noticed it when I bombed down the GAP section and got rattled like a can of spray paint. Fair trade.

    The Darkness

    I have never been friends with the Darkness. I put on my MP3 player when I put on my lights to quiet the voices in my head. I know how bad it's going to get in the next few hours. My circadian rhythm will kick in around 11:00pm and tell my body to sleep. Then my mind, heart, and soul with go into a three way tug of war with my body trapped in the middle. I'll start to think about how warm the granite is, and how good it would feel to lay down on it. I will go from hot to cold to hot every five minutes. My temperature will never regulate. I'll start drinking Burn energy drink hoping for some subsitute for a good night's sleep. I can't remeber to eat, or drink, or what I need when I get to the pit. I pretty much wish for a quick death. That's the Darkness I fear. Not the darkness from the lack of sunshine, but the Darkness within. So put on my lights, and get me outta this pit.

    I started my first night lap with a Lights and Motion HID I borrowed from Eddie O'dea. I had never used it before so of course why not wait until I am far from the pits to try to turn it on. I couldn't. Crap. I rolled up to the first aid station, and luckily that chap had better luck than I did and the woods in front of me were illuminated. I went into my night conservation mode which means I ride safe(ish) and try to do nothing super heroic that might make me cramp. I just want to live ( I think). The night was going smoothly until I headed out on the trail for my umpteenth lap, and my light went blue-red-blue-red...black. Apply brakes and hoooray, I'm alive. I couldn't see to adjust my commuter light on the bars, so I had to hold it in place while I rode back to the pits for less than a mile. I screamed out for Eddie and in a flash he had my problem addressed so I could get back to my drudgery. Stabby perma-adjusted my commuter light with duct tape so I wouldn't have to hold it still if my light went out again (like that could happen).

    I started noticing that my pit crew all had ****-eating grins on their faces. I always tell them I don't want to know how I am doing, how everybody else is doing, or what lap I am on. They were obviously bursting, so I gave in. They told me that I was closing in on Cameron and the gap was down to 40+ minutes at the last time check. ??? I had been waiting to get lapped and now I am told that I'm gaining on him?? I wasn't planning on that.

    I decided to change strategies and give it a little gas in the dark. That's not to say the demons weren't still whispering in my ears; they were. "Lay down on the granite" "walk this climb" "you're never going to catch him so why try"... that kind of thing. I noticed a mushroom that glowed in the night that looked like a melted golfball. I considered stopping to eat it. It either would have been nutritionally beneficial, sent me on a strange trip, or killed me. I didn't see a downside. Fortunately it was far enough off the trail and would have required too much effort to eat it. Strange things in the night.

    Somewhere in the night I felt bad. My stomach hurt, but a swap to bib shorts alleviated some of the pain. Something in my right arm felt as if it had snapped while riding over the GAP sections. I later found my rear brake lever's position had changed, and I had to stop and fix it. I was suffering a lot of fore-arm pump on the GAP. I figured out how to reduce the pain of being beat to death on a rigid bike while descending on the surface of the moon. I stopped braking. I actually locked all my fingers around the grip and just held on. I was chaos in motion till I closed in on the bottom, and then I would reach for the brakes and haul it all in. If you ever want to crap your pants, give it a try. I highly reccomend it (only if you really want to crap your pants).

    During the night I had many different sendoffs. Big Worm and Tommawicki-wicki-wicki chased me out with a video camera, the boy pushed my bike out from underneath me when I tried to mount up cyclocross style, and Dejay snuck up behind me and spanked my ass repeatedly telling me I needed to go faster.

    Everytime I came into the pit from that point on I got updates. I was closing the gap by 10-15 minutes every lap. He was fading, and I was flying. I realized that even if I pass him we still have nine or ten hours to go. That would make him the hunter and me the hunted, and that's not how I like it. I was happy to be catching him, but not thrilled about looking over my shoulder for the last third of the race. I got the gap down to less than ten minutes and went out to kill him. I wanted to pass him on a climb and crush his soul while I hid my pain. I never got the chance. My pit crew stopped me and told me that he had never left the pits and that I was now ahead of him. Not nearly as satisfying, but I'll take it. I continued on into the Darkness (not the darkness).

    I wanted to get as much into him as I could so I put the hammer down. If/when he got back in the race I wanted him to see some scary numbers. When I got back to my pit I did a turn and burn and went right back out. As I left pit row I saw Cameron's bike standing outside his tent. One lap up, it feels good, but it's only four in the morning. Hardly a time to celebrate. I don't remember when it happened exactly, but I was out on the GAP section and my light went blue-red-blu....uh-oh. I quickly turned on my commuter light, and POOF I was miles from the pit with a dim glow to guide me. I rode as best as I could by memory and candlelight until Sue Haywood passed me right before the fastest descent on the course. I told her I was going to follow her, but to leave me if I fell off the back. I did my best, but eventually I was back on my own. It wasn't long after I lost Sue that I found myself in the pits, and we decided one lap per battery. No more pushing my luck.

    Word on the street was that Cameron was passed out and not going anywhere. I was a few laps up and the sun was pushing over the horizon. I had no idea what Sully was up to but I knew I had a few laps on him too. It was time to be conservative, do some math, make a plan, and execute. We figured I could do four to five more laps and I was sitting on nineteen. As I rode on into daylight I refigured those figures and decided if I could win it with three more then that would be enough for me. I have only done ONE unnecessary lap in a 24 hour race, and I don't want to do that again. I killed a lot of time before heading out on my last lap and didn't head out of the pits until I ate some bologna. I ate WAY LESS stuff than I had planned on. I say "ate", but I should say consumed. I had five Ensures, five Burns, less than ten gels, two bags of Clif Shots, and maybe fifteen bottles of Heed. That's all. I think all the meat and sugar I have been eating since August paid off.

    Somewhere out on the GAP section, I was pushing my bike and I noticed I was missing a chain ring bolt. Hmm...I didn't want to fold my Boone ring so I pushed my bike up, coasted down, and spun the flats all the way to the finish line. Sully was there waiting till 11:00am to cross the line. He had been chased out of his tent by Dejay in the middle of the night and was rewarded for his efforts. He passed Cameron in the night and came in third. We had a nice beer breakfast while we shot the **** and then crossed the line at 11:00:01.

    A big thanks go out to all my little helpers: The Boy (Drew), Big Worm (Bill), Stabby (Clint), Tommawicki-wicki-wicki (Rebecca), Eddie O'dea, and Dejay Birtch.

    All I can say is "cool". I did something I've wanted to do ever since I started single speeding. It hurt, but it was rewarding. I didn't stick around for the 3:00pm awards, as I had lots of other priorities on the home front that had to be tended to. Oh well. I got what I wanted, and standing on a podium always makes me feel more dumb than I do standing on the ground. I can't believe I only felt tired once, and that was it. I never felt like I lost control of the bike or felt like falling asleep at the wheel. It was perfect (or as close I could ever expect to perfect).

    For those of you that wondered, I chose the pink socks to start the race, okay? Yes, the person behind me ran away after seeing my calloused and cracked feet.


    Does running make my butt look big?


    Early on in the race I was in and out of the pits fast.


    "C'mon Eddie. What do mean I can borrow the lights, but I have to pay for the batteries?"


    Here's how you put down 20oz of Heed in 4 seconds. Brings back memories of wine coolers in two liter bottles.


    I wore the wife beater in honor of Zach (I think my wiener is funny) Broussard
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    Last edited by teamdicky; 10-10-2006 at 05:20 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Great write up, Rich!...Great job Congrats on your Victory! so has Josh talked you into LaRuta?

  3. #3
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    Major congrats on your race!

    I must know the tricks of the trade as I have ridden that course a ton and climbing that granite wall (especially on a SS) is a muther.......what gearing did you choose for the race?

    -Boz
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  4. #4
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    Yeeeehaw!

    Congrat's to a great job. Your efforts and story are inspirational!!!
    Always preach the Gospel; even if you need to use words.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brado1
    so has Josh talked you into LaRuta?
    I am still waiting to see what next year has to offer before I commit to my yearly stupidity scheduling.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The SS Boz
    Major congrats on your race!

    I must know the tricks of the trade as I have ridden that course a ton and climbing that granite wall (especially on a SS) is a muther.......what gearing did you choose for the race?

    -Boz

    I ran a 34X19 at Conyers. It was a bear getting up the steepest granite and the loose twisty climb, but once it was dark I walked it.
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  7. #7
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    Nice work!

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    An Inspiration

    Mate, well done !

    As ever, you are an inspiration for the rest of us.
    ____________
    Fear only Fear

  9. #9
    34N 118W
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    I like your necklace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood
    I like your necklace.
    It's actually a siver medallion my dad found and gave me last year at Christmas. He went to see me race in the Worlds back in 2000 (it was the first time he had ever seen me race) so I wanted a piece of him with me.
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  11. #11
    34N 118W
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky
    It's actually a siver medallion my dad found and gave me last year at Christmas. He went to see me race in the Worlds back in 2000 (it was the first time he had ever seen me race) so I wanted a piece of him with me.
    great, now i'm crying. Nice job out there on the race track.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood
    great, now i'm crying.
    He's not dead or anything.
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  13. #13
    mcd
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    I raise a beer in your general direction. nice job!
    disclaimer: i (NO LONGER) live with my mom...

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    Congrats, Rich! I'd hoped to get down there to catch up with ya but didn't make it. Saw your name at the top of the results and was glad to see it!
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  15. #15
    CB2
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    Thanks for the report. Congratulations!

  16. #16
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    Congratulations on the win! Superb write up, makes me wanna solo SS so bad.
    Great read.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ross W.
    makes me wanna solo SS so bad.
    That's odd. I figured people would learn from my mistakes. I didn't know I was making it sound like a good idea.
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  18. #18
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    Good job! Rich

    Good job man! Actually it is inspiring to see folks racing SS. I've been doing 100 milers for a few years, won a few podiums in 12/13 hour solos/duos but never on a SS. I've been Type 1 diabetic for 17 years and just got the idea to race on my SS next season. The one gear represents Type 1 diabetes not just for the 1 but also for the struggles/adversity (not myself) that many diabetics face daily. This is what has kept me riding/ racing for years, not letting it limit what i do and achieve. In the process I'll raise money for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to help find a cure. Rich, I will be in touch to get some pointers to carry over from geared vs. SS racing. Have plenty of miles in my legs and I'm strong on the SS for everyday riding, just need some help on the endurance SS racing. I have not raced a 24 solo but that is on my list for next year, not sure on the SS part for that but i can be persuaded. Simplicity is key!

  19. #19
    CB2
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    Do you get to wear the rainbow jersey when contesting 24 hour SS events? Do they make a rainbow wife beater?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    Do you get to wear the rainbow jersey when contesting 24 hour SS events? Do they make a rainbow wife beater?
    Since it's a non-UCI event there is no rainbow jersey. Since I didn't get to stay for the awards I don't even know if there is a jersey.
    A little worlds rainbow would look sweet on my wife beater though.
    I think I'll continue to wear whatever fits my fancy.
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  21. #21
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    teamdicky: That's odd. I figured people would learn from my mistakes. I didn't know I was making it sound like a good idea.

    Heh, heh. Frankly you made it sound exactly like it is - HARD. VERY HARD. I would not try a 24 hour solo with gears and an engine, let alone a rigid SS.

    Congratulations!
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SS
    RM Suzi Q 90 RSL
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

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